The Woods of Hitchcock
The Woods of Hitchcock
(The Henrietta Series)
by Ann W. Jarvie
GENRE: Thriller, Psychological Suspense
The Woods of Hitchcock by award-winning author Ann W. Jarvie is a thriller about a psychically gifted Chicago copywriter and victim of violence who returns to South Carolina's equestrian country to solve a riddle involving murder, the metaphysical and the secrets of her eccentric family.
Suzanne Clayborn is a psychically gifted southerner working in her dream job in Chicago, which also conveniently takes her away from the ghosts of her past. But when she's nearly killed, she realizes all she wants is to return home to her eccentric family, her horse and the one place she feels safe: Hitchcock Woods, an enchanting equestrian forest in South Carolina.
But instead of finding solace, Suzanne becomes entangled in a murder spree, while stumbling upon an old manuscript, written by her sage grandmother. As she explores it, Suzanne uncovers a tome of long-buried family haunts and ancient metaphysical secrets offering healing and inspiration. She also begins to understand her unwanted psychic abilities, especially after meeting a mysterious stranger in the Woods whose ominous riddle suggests others close to her will die within the week...
Brimming with raw emotion and a trail of psychological twists, a story of hope and transformation begins to unfold. Yet with the riddle's deadline looming, Suzanne's present must ultimately collide with a violent past. Will she be able to solve her life's riddle and fulfill her destiny? Or will she die along with those she loves?
Thunder rumbled in the near distance as she approached Sand River. Dismounting, she palmed its surface, only to be reminded that wet sand might not be the only potential danger. Someone who wanted to kill her might be lurking. The sand was dry and safe enough to cross. But how could I’ve been so careless to be alone without a weapon?
The sound of slow-moving hooves on the trail ahead sent chills down her spine. When she looked up, she saw the whites of a mammoth stallion’s eyes.
“You’re a great horsewoman, but I was getting a little worried about you,” JJ said.
“Oh, thank goodness, it’s you, Daddy.” She usually didn’t refer to him as a child would, like many in the South did even in their elder years. But it popped out of her at times. And she knew he preferred it.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got what you need.” He turned on a light that was attached to a headband and handed it down to her.
“Thanks, your timing couldn’t have been better,” she said, slipping it on.
“Well, Della’s fixin’ to put a big supper on the table. And you know how irritable your mama gets when we don’t sit down together.” He turned on his own light and pointed it to his face, illuminating a crazy expression, before placing it over his head. He swayed, possibly from the effects of gin or whiskey. “I figured you’d be out here.”
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yep, I’m feeling real good. Let’s go!”
Pivoting, he rode ahead of her, creating a tunnel of light that would lead them home, like he’d done so many times before. Suzanne smiled, feeling the love of a drunk who sometimes came through for her, usually when she least expected it.
About the Author:
Ann W. Jarvie has a B.A. in journalism and twenty-five years’ experience as a writer in advertising and public relations agencies, in Chicago and South Carolina. Although it stands completely on its own, The Woods of Hitchcock is an indirect sequel to Jarvie’s award-winning debut novel, The Soul Retrieval, which received four literary awards, the highest score by Writer’s Digest e-Book Awards’ judges (5 out of 5 on all points) as well as myriad positive reviews. Jarvie currently lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona with her husband, their boxer dog and boxer mix rescue.
Q&A With the Author
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
I started to believe I could be a writer in high school because I had a wonderful teacher who saw something she liked in my writing, selected me as yearbook editor, and encouraged me to major in journalism, which I did. I started to consider myself as an author when I was able to connect two disparate characters in my first novel, The Soul Retrieval, enabling my story to come full circle in an unexpected, yet credible way.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
The best advice is this: Don’t even think about publishing a novel until you’ve written a good one. Completing a solid first-draft manuscript requires a lot of hard work. Just to finish, you must have incredible perseverance. And you must love what you’re writing about and the characters you create—the good, the bad and the ugly. Once you have a completed manuscript, give yourself a toast and a hearty pat on the back. Then hire a developmental editor to give you constructive feedback and the “go ahead” before proceeding to the next step.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Editing in the early morning hours, when my mind is fresh. And it’s easier for me to get into a flow with something already on the page.
What is your favorite part of this story?
I love when my sage grandmother character, Henrietta, is sharing her wisdom and ancient metaphysical secrets with my protagonist, Suzanne.
Which character was the most fun to write about? Why?
In The Woods of Hitchcock, which is set primarily in South Carolina, I enjoyed writing about Lita, who is my protagonist’s mother. The most hilarious southern expressions come out of Lita’s mouth (to me anyway), and some readers might think I was being overly comical with her. But Lita is a true composite of some of the finest, most generous and funniest southern women I have known. She tickles me to death, as we say in the South.
Which character was the hardest to write about? Why?
I’d say it was Suzanne’s father, JJ, because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to portray him initially. Would he better as a good guy or bad? In a strange way writers will understand, JJ ultimately “showed me” and pleasantly surprised me (and my protagonist Suzanne). JJ at first appears superficial, obsessed with expensive thoroughbreds, and lacking in any heroic qualities. But later he shows remarkable psychological depth, dependability and good humor just when Suzanne least expects it. Consequently, JJ is also one of my favorite characters in The Woods of Hitchcock.
Website and Social Media:
The Woods of Hitchcock, A Thriller by Ann W. Jarvie, is available online everywhere, including:
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Ann W. Jarvie will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.